British duo Wham! evokes Chinese nostalgia with singles and film

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 12, 2023
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The British pop duo Wham!, who gained popular in the 1980s and beyond, recently rekindled nostalgia in China with the release of a new singles collection box set, as well as a Netflix documentary featuring footage from their landmark visit to China in 1985.

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley of Wham! visit the Great Wall while promoting the concert in the Chinese mainland in Beijing, April 7, 1985. [Photo/VCG]

Sony Music Entertainment released "Wham! The Singles: Echoes From The Edge Of Heaven" on July 7. This multi-format release includes a special edition 7" vinyl singles carry case containing all of the band's hits, spanning four remarkably successful years, beginning with 1982's "Young Guns (Go For It)" and concluding with 1986's "The Edge Of Heaven." Along the journey, there is a collection of uplifting music that has resonated across generations, including chart-toppers like "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Freedom," "Last Christmas," and "I'm Your Man." The collection is now available in various additional formats: 10-CD box set, double-LP colored vinyl, double-LP black vinyl, CD, and digitally. It is also available on streaming platforms in China.

The 7" box set edition of "Wham! The Singles: Echoes From The Edge Of Heaven." [Image courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment China]

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley formed Wham! in 1981. The lifelong friends, who met at secondary school in the small town of Bushey, became one of the most successful pop acts globally throughout the 1980s, selling over 30 million records worldwide. Even generations later, this collection of musical gems continues to speak to many new fans.

In 1985, their concerts in Beijing and Guangzhou were enthusiastically received. This historic event was documented in "Wham!", a documentary directed by Chris Smith. Footage from their visit to the Great Wall in Beijing was also included.

"This was my youth! They are incomparable!" wrote one Chinese user on China's review aggregator website, Douban.

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley pose for a picture on the Tiananmen Square in Beijingduring their 10-day visit to Chinain April 1985. [Photo/VCG]

"In the documentary, there is precious footage of their trip to China in 1985, which also documented early scenes of the Chinese mainland," another user wrote. "Their influence on a generation of young Chinese musicians at that time was undoubtedly significant."

"Wham!" was released online on July 5 by Netflix. The documentary provides unprecedented access to Michael and Ridgeley's personal archives, including never-before-seen footage. Alongside rare, candid, and previously unheard interviews, "Wham!" chronicles their incredible journey.

Wham! play a concert at Beijing's People's Stadium in April 1985. [Photo/VCG]

China was one of the stops on their world tour, known as "The Big Tour," which took place in 1984 and 1985. The tour consisted of 39 shows, supporting their multi-platinum album "Make It Big," which reached number one on both the British and American charts. The tour included destinations such as the UK, Ireland, Japan, Australia, the United States, the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong. In the summer of 1985, their "WhamAmerica!" stadium tour entertained hundreds of thousands of fans across the United States. On June 28, 1986, Wham! bid farewell in a spectacular manner with "Wham! The Final," performing in front of 72,000 people at London's Wembley Stadium.

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